How do you measure success? Revenues? EPS? Glassdoor rankings? Market share? How about years? In an era awash in data, there’s no shortage of metrics, but one is sadly undervalued: longevity.
The ability for a business to survive, to grow, to just keep going, across the decades, across changes in society and technology, across generations of leaders serving as stewards for something that will outlast their lifetimes—to me, that’s the real test of any organization. (Sorry, Wall Street.)
That’s why, starting this year, Chief Executive is hoping to begin a new annual tradition in American business by celebrating every sizable (over $100 million in annual revenues) standalone company we can find that’s turning 100 that year.
The idea came out of a conversation I had with Jim Collins last summer. “If I could pick the one thing that I would change in how executives lead companies by magically waving a wand,” he told me, “it would be the timeframe in which they operate—that you manage for the quarter century, not the quarter.”
In this PE-driven, CNBC-addled, beat-estimates-by-a-penny culture, that’s obviously way-easier said than done. But it does happen—we just don’t talk about it enough. With the Companies of a Century project, we’re hoping to start changing the conversation, if even just a little.
We couldn’t have asked for a better class to kick it off than the class of 2023. You’ll meet an incredible range of companies, including household names like Hasbro, Walt Disney and Time, multi-billion-dollar industry titans like Ecolab, Textron and Nielsen and a slew of lesser-known multi-generational regional powers like O&G Industries of Torrington, Conn., Granite City Electric of Quincy, Mass. and Turtle & Hughes of Linden, New Jersey. (If we missed your company, please let us know?)
Through their stories, we hope you’ll find tips, insights and, above all else, the inspiration you need to just keep going. And going. And going. After all, in business and in so much else in this life, that’s what really counts. Ladies and gentlemen, please join us in welcoming… the class of 2023. Meet the Companies and their Leaders >